Peter Griffin, Editor. 15 March 2022, 11:00 am
The annual CIO Awards were celebrated with an online ceremony last night that saw incoming IT Professionals NZ Chief Executive Victoria MacLennan honoured for her outstanding contribution to business and technology in New Zealand.
MacLennan took over the top job at IT Professionals from outgoing CEO Paul Matthews just last week and has hit the ground running with significant plans for the go-to industry body for IT professionals.
For those who don’t know MacLennan, the CIO Awards citation read out last night at the live-streamed ceremony in Auckland is as good as any to get acquainted with ITP’s new leader and her extensive background working in tech – and giving back to the community. Tech blog has published the citation in full below.
Congratulations to Vic and all of the other CIO Awards winners and finalists.
CIO Awards citation – Victoria MacLennan
Our recipient this year believes that everyone in Aotearoa deserves an opportunity to realise their potential and her role is to help make this happen.
She joined the digital technology industry in her late teens driving around the top half of the South Island with the boot of her Holden Barina full of the first EFTPOS machines in New Zealand, Installing them in bars, cafes and supermarkets – then replacing them in bars a week later after the inevitable occurred.
By her early 20s, she was living in London and part of the team that programmed the
“Trusted Xenix” Unix based operating system before returning to Aotearoa working as an Oracle DBA and Unix System Administrator – she was a hardcore techo.
Victoria MacLennan, ITP NZ’s new Chief Executive
During these formative years of her career as the only woman in sight she experienced blatant bias, had to fight for pay parity with her male colleagues, was passed over for promotion because she was a young mother and was once told to stop showing up her male colleagues by turning in consistently bug-free code, ahead of time!
These life lessons led to her becoming a lifelong equity advocate, a champion for women in both technology and business and has led to her consciously exploring how to become the best wahine Pākeha she can be.
After a career climbing the digital technology corporate ladder, she and her business partner founded the successful data services company OptimalBI – a business she still owns today. In the 10 years since she has championed and supported the growth of a long list of startups, as an advisor, investor and director.
Her contribution to our sector extended to spending 7 years as Co-Chair of business group NZRise, advocating for the New Zealand owned digital technology industry.
She has held a range of Ministerial advisory roles on growing our Digital Economy, Cyber Security and her personal obsession – Digital Equity.
Her government policy support has extended to chairing of the Digital Skills forum,
supporting the development of the Digital Technology curriculum, contributing to the recently published Digital Industry Transformation Plan – and a long list of other projects – all undertaken pro-bono in her “spare time”.
Our recipient also donates her time to charitable initiatives and is the driving force behind programmes like Code Club and Recycle a Device or RAD (who are also nominees here today).
During the first Level 4 lockdown in 2020 she and friends formed DECA the Digital Equity Coalition Aotearoa to coordinate activity and shine a light on the digital divide which is wider than many of us in Aotearoa realise.
Just this month our recipient was appointed the CEO of IT Professionals the industry group focused on growing and supporting the capability of our those in our workforce, a challenge she is really excited to be embarking on.
She tends to shy away from awards, preferring others to take the spotlight, so we are thrilled she was prepared to accept this honour.
This year’s recipient is Victoria MacLennan.
A number of other technology leaders were recognised in the CIO Awards including Andrew Haddad, chief information officer at Vodafone who was named CIO of the year.
The 2021 CIO Awards winners and finalists are listed in full below:
New Zealand CIO of the Year 2021 – Sponsored by CompTIA
WINNER: Andrew Haddad, Chief Information Officer, Vodafone New Zealand
Phil Coster, Chief Digital Officer, Mitre 10, New Zealand Limited
Robert Lockerd, Chief Information Officer, New Zealand Parliament
Outstanding Contribution to Technology and Business in New Zealand – Sponsored by Sharp
Recipient – Victoria MacLennan
Emerging ICT Leader of the Year 2021 – Sponsored by 2degrees
WINNER: Bob Kombora, IT Operations Manager, Vulcan
Avinash de Silva, Technology and Platform Manager, Fresh Direct NZ
Taryn Olsen, Senior Product Manager, Countdown
Alex Stewart, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, WombatNET
Business Transformation through Digital and IT – Sponsored by ClearPoint
WINNER: The Earthquake Commission
Tū Ora Compass Health
Community Tech Champions – Sponsored by Juniper Networks
WINNER – RoboPā – Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
Greater Christchurch Schools’ Network
IT Professionals NZ Schools Outreach Programmes
Te Awa Kairangi Access Trust
Best ICT Team Culture – Sponsored by RWA Technology People
WINNER: Greater Wellington Regional Council
Sustainability through Technology – Sponsored by Younity
WINNER: Recycle A Device